BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (11 Jan 2012) – It was a memorable May in 2011 as far as Brunei sports or to be more specific, football was concerned. Suspended from international football from September 2009 onwards, world governing body for football FIFA finally lifted their suspension on Brunei in May 2011.
So remember this date – 30 May2011. The good news was largely due to the gallant effort of His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah (pic, top right). Prince Sufri, who is the president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council and who also acted as chairman of the normalisation committee tasked with getting the country’s football association back on track.
The Prince and his team started the ball rolling in early April after a meeting with FIFA Emergency Committee. And the process culminated with the best news for Brunei football in 20 months when FIFA lifted the ban on the Sultanate on 30 May.
FIFA then confirmed that Brunei are being restored with full member privileges. This means that Brunei will be able to play at the international stage again and are also eligible for FIFA’s Financial Assistance Programme (FAP) and Goal Projects.
FIFA members receive an annual FAP boost of USD250,000 plus bonuses. The Goal Project, meanwhile, is a tailor-made development and assistance programme for member countries.
Brunei playing the beautiful game once again saw the Under-23 team taking part in the SEA Games after a lapse of ten years while the Under-21 team took to the field at December’s Borneo Games were among the best thing to happen in the local sports scene last this year.
Thus, football is the biggest winner in 2011.
PHOTO CAPTION: HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah (second from left), NFABD honorary president, witnessing YAM Pg Muda ‘Abdul ‘Aleem (left) conducting the draw for the opening match of the DST-National Football League 2011/2012at the Berakas Sports Complex recently as Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah (second from right) and Dato Paduka Hj Abdul Rahman Hj Mohiddin, the new president of the NFABDt, look on . Picture: BT/Yee Chun Leong
SOURCE: Brunei Times